TRACHEOTOMY, WHAT IS IT?
Tracheotomy is a medical procedure in which a cut is made in the trachea, which is the tube that carries air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Tracheotomy is often performed in emergency situations, such as when a person has an obstruction in their airways or needs assisted breathing.
The purpose of tracheotomy is to improve airflow to the lungs and prevent damage to the respiratory tract tissues. It can also be performed to facilitate the drainage of secretions from the lungs and prevent respiratory infections.
Tracheotomy can be performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis. After the procedure, a tube is placed in the trachea to maintain an open airway, and nursing care is provided to ensure that the wound is clean and free of infections. Over time, the tube can be removed and the trachea will close on its own.
HOW IS A TRACHEOTOMY PERFORMED?
Tracheotomy is usually performed in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is performed as follows:
- The patient is positioned supine (lying on their back) and a heart monitor and oxygen monitor are placed on their neck.
- Local anesthesia is applied to the neck area where the incision will be made.
- An incision is made in the neck, just below the larynx (the voice box).
- A metal or plastic tube is inserted through the incision and placed in the trachea.
- The incision is closed with suture stitches and a bandage is placed on the neck to protect the tube.
After the procedure, the patient is kept under observation in the hospital for a time and given medications to prevent infection and pain. The tube will be left in place until the patient has recovered from the anesthesia and can breathe on their own. The tube can then be removed and the incision will close on its own. The patient may need physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain strength and respiratory capacity after the tracheotomy.
PREPARATION FOR SURGERY
Tracheotomy is a medical procedure that is performed when direct access to the trachea (the body’s main airway) is needed for breathing. Some things you can do to prepare for tracheotomy surgery are:
- Talk to your doctor: Make sure you understand the procedure and the reasons why it has been recommended to you. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions: Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, such as stopping certain medications or not eating or drinking for a period of time before surgery. It is important to follow these instructions to the letter to reduce the risk of complications.
- Plan your recovery: Think about how you will feel after surgery and how this will affect your daily life. It may be helpful to have someone who can help you during the recovery process.
- Ask questions: If you have any questions or concerns about the surgery or your recovery, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or the medical team. It is important that you feel comfortable and secure throughout the process.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?
Tracheotomy can be performed open or closed.
If performed open, a cut is made in the neck and a tube is inserted through the cut and into the trachea. If performed closed, a small hole is made in the neck and the tube is inserted through the hole and into the trachea.
In both cases, the tube is left in place for a time to allow the person to breathe. After surgery, it is normal to feel pain and discomfort in the neck for a few days. It is also normal to have difficulty speaking and swallowing at first.
It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions on how to care for the tube and how to care for oneself during recovery. Tracheotomy can be a temporary or permanent procedure, depending on the patient’s situation. If you have any questions or concerns about tracheotomy, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.
CARE OR THERAPIES THAT A TRACHEOTOMY REQUIRES
After a tracheotomy, it is important to carefully follow the instructions of the doctor and medical team to ensure a quick and complication-free recovery. Some care and therapies that may be recommended after a tracheotomy include:
- Tracheotomy tube care: Your doctor will teach you how to care for the tracheotomy tube and how to ensure it is clean and in good condition. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter to reduce the risk of infection.
- Physical therapy: You may be recommended to do physical therapy to strengthen the throat muscles and improve the ability to swallow and speak.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help you learn to safely and efficiently perform daily activities with the tracheotomy tube.
- Skin care: It is important to ensure that the skin around the tracheotomy tube is clean and dry to prevent infection.
- Regular medical follow-up: It is important to continue attending regular medical appointments to ensure everything is in order and make adjustments to treatment if necessary.
It is important to remember that everyone is different and the care and therapies needed after a tracheotomy may vary depending on the patient’s situation. If you have any questions or concerns about the care or therapies you should follow after a tracheotomy, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.
Children may need a tracheotomy for a variety of reasons. Some cases in which children may need a tracheotomy include:
- Airway obstruction: If a child has an airway obstruction, meaning they have difficulty breathing due to a blockage in the trachea, they may need a tracheotomy to provide a direct airway.
- Chronic respiratory problems: Some children have chronic respiratory problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), that may require a tracheotomy to help improve breathing.
- Neurological problems: Some children with neurological problems, such as cerebral palsy or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), may need a tracheotomy to help maintain good breathing.
- Head or neck surgery: If a child needs surgery on their head or neck, they may need a temporary tracheotomy to help maintain good breathing during and after surgery.
It is important to remember that each case is different and the need for a tracheotomy will depend on the individual child’s situation. If you have any questions or concerns about whether your child may need a tracheotomy, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.
CAN YOU SPEAK WITH A TRACHEOTOMY?
Yes, it is possible to speak with a tracheostomy. Tracheostomy is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the trachea to create an opening that allows air to enter the lungs. Although tracheostomy affects the natural ability to speak, most people who undergo this procedure can speak using a special valve called a speaking valve or a voice prosthesis. In addition, there are also speech therapy and rehabilitation exercises that can help regain the ability to speak more clearly after a tracheostomy.